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  • Dear Readers!

    “I believe in horses. Automobiles are a passing phenomenon.” These are the words said to have been uttered by the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, at the time when mobility was going through a radical change. No one can say for sure whether he really said this or not but it is a quote that is often used as an example of people badly misjudging the importance of an invention – and not just by futurologists. Today, mobility is once again undergoing a radical change. In some areas of the country, air quality has deteriorated so much that politicians, industrial businesses and consumers are being forced to rethink the way they act, in particular in large cities. The diesel scandal has simply further aggravated the situation. The first councils have begun banning old diesel cars from using the roads where air pollution is highest. At the same time, city planners are focusing almost entirely on creating living space and high quality office buildings. In contrast, tradespeople and commercial businesses, such as recycling firms, are gradually being pushed further and further outside the city. Their work though should continue to be quiet, free of dust and, wherever possible, without CO2 or NOX emissions.

    It’s definitely time to start thinking about possible alternatives. What could be better than using one of the country’s waste streams – i.e. organic waste – as a source of post-fossil fuel and, by doing so, enable waste collections to be carbon-neutral and practically free of fine particulate and NOX emissions? REMONDIS has begun a pilot project near Cologne to do just this and is currently testing six vehicles run on biogas.

    The recycling industry has a new market player: the Schwarz Group (Lidl), which has an annual turnover of EUR 96.7 billion (2017) – bigger than the whole of the German recycling sector put together. Earlier this year, the Schwarz Group’s subsidiary, Green Cycle, purchased Tönsmeier, the fifth-largest recycling company in Germany, acquiring a volume of sales three times bigger than all of the acquisitions made by REMONDIS in 2016 and 2017. Industry experts believe that the Schwarz Group will also enter Germany’s ‘Dual System’ market (kerbside collection of sales packaging) in the not too distant future.

    There is so much happening in the German recycling market at the moment – a market which, according to the “Status Report on the German Circular Economy”, has around 10,800 companies competing against each other. While none of the private sector firms has a monopoly in any area of the waste management and recycling industry, the trend towards councils renationalising waste services continues unabated leading to the creation of regional monopolies. As a result, the private sector’s share of the market is also slowly decreasing. At present, for example, its share of conventional waste collection services lies at around 50% of the overall market. As always, we hope you enjoy reading this latest issue of REMONDIS AKTUELL.

    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf

  • A perilous journey across the Mediterranean

    Hussein Jaza was full of fear when he climbed into the nine-metre rubber dinghy that was to take him and 59 other refugees across the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece. He was well aware that the two boats that had left the day before had not reached their destination.

    • One case was all he had on him when he fled from Iran to Germany, via Turkey and Greece. Today, the 21-year-old handles at least 4 tonnes of clothes every day so that they can be worn by others elsewhere

Fleeing the country the only real option

Ever since he was a small child, Hussein has wanted to study Medicine. Which was why he moved from Syria to Iran to take his high school leaving exams. According to Iranian law, however, Syrians living in the country are not permitted to learn a medical profession. Hussein thought long and hard about applying for a visa to study abroad but was unable to fulfil all the conditions living in Iran. What’s more, he was unable to return to Syria as his home had been destroyed. In the end, he felt he had no choice but to flee and take refuge in a country where he would be safe. On 09 December 2015, he left Iran and reached Germany just four days later.

Job at RE Textil Deutschland

Today, Hussein works at RE Textil Deutschland GmbH in Polch, a fully owned REMONDIS subsidiary. Every day, he handles at least four tonnes of discarded clothing. He packs the sorted clothes – no matter whether they be T-shirts, trousers or shirts – into large 25kg bags, sews them up and then loads them onto the trucks one by one. The high consumption rate in Germany produces large volumes of discarded clothing. Some of the bags from Polch make their way to second-hand shops. The majority of the clothes, however, are not suitable for the German market. These materials are sent to threshold and developing countries to provide them with affordable clothing. By doing this work, Hussein is also making an important contribution towards conserving our planet’s natural resources and protecting the environment. On average, approx. 2,500 litres of water are needed to produce just one T-shirt. Looking at the number of T-shirts Hussein handles, he alone is saving 40 million litres of water a day.

    • of water would be needed to produce the clothes that Hussein handles every day

Pursuing his dream of becoming a doctor

In addition, he is helping to reduce land consumption as less cotton is needed. Hussein’s ecological footprint is pretty good when all these factors are taken into account. He grinned when he heard this, a little embarrassed. He hadn’t realised the environmental benefits of the job when he began – his primary concern has been to earn money so he can finance his university studies. “That’s fair enough but he has fitted into our team perfectly. He is so determined and focused and really well organised as well,” said Manfred Frey, commercial manager at RE Textil Deutschland GmbH. Ideally, he would like to study in Hamburg or Heidelberg but he has got a while to go yet before he can do this. First of all, he needs to improve his German to pass the B2 level exams. Once he has done that, he can then apply to take part in a preparatory course at university, the next step towards studying Medicine. Hussein would like to stay in Germany and hopes eventually to be given a permanent residence permit. His command of the German language and his job at RE Textil give him hope for the future. The way he is promoting sustainability with his hard work at RE Textil is already unbeatable.

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